Police as well as paramilitary forces have conducted a flag march in Maoist-infested Gajapati District in Odisha in a bid to give a boost to the morale of the people and to encourage them to vote during the general elections, as they face a security threat from insurgents during the democratic exercise.
Gajapati is one of the Maoist-affected, tribal dominated and poverty stricken districts of Odisha. The insurgency activities during elections increase as Maoists discourage civilians from taking part in the polling process.
However, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and district police held the flag march throughout the region, to instill confidence in people.
"Paramilitary force and civilians will see each other and this will boost morale that is why we are conducting the flag march. The morale of criminals and anti-social elements will go down and the common man's confidence will remain high and they will participate in the elections," said Assistant Commander of Police, Juriya Behera.
As the mammoth general elections are just around the corner, the people of the district are becoming increasingly fearful of any activity by the Maoists.
But the flag march conducted yesterday has left a positive impact on people, who are appreciating the effort of police and they hope march will also be organised in rural areas.
"We the people of Gajapati district are under the threat of Maoist activities. So, it will definitely leave a very good impression and the polling percentage will be more. It gives a very positive message. Definitely these things have to be conducted in rural areas also," said a shopkeeper, Anadi Panighary.
The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of millions of landless tribal people. Apart from prisoner releases, the Maoists have also demanded an end to tourism in parts of the state where tribals live.